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tv   Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield  CNN  January 1, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST

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hello, everyone, i'm deborah feyerick in for ashleigh banfield. welcome to "legal view." it is dangerous, pain staking, high pressure work and search teams frustrated by bad weather would like nothing more than to get on with it. new year's day produced few new discovers. you wouldn't know it from scenes like these, but weather over the search zone was once again terrible, sending helicopters home and keeping divers onboard their ships. to date, the remains of 9 of the 162 passengers and crew have been recovered and eight have been flown ashore. one woman has now been identified. she was pulled from the sea on tuesday. authorities say she still had her identification on her, as
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well as a necklace with an initial. the body was given to family members, it was promptly laid to rest. cnn's andrew stevens is in surabaya where flight 8501 departed more than four and a half days ago. when you think of the distance between surabaya and singapore, the destination, is the equivalent between new york city and atlanta. are search teams any closer to narrowing down the plane's location, either from the debris or the individuals that were found? >> reporter: well, they are no closer really than they were 24 hours ago, debra, and that's the frustrating part of it, because the weather is just getting in the way. three to four meter waves, up to 15-foot-high waves, swells, in that area. high winds, driving rain, and it's coming through in bands, so the rescue crews have to, or the search crews i should call them really, have to work around the weather, so when there's a clear path, they can get in and do
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one, maybe two hours searching. very, very frustrating. as you pointed out, the divers can't get in the water. the big focus at the moment is trying to relocate what was described as a big shadow seen by a reconnaissance plane three days ago now in the search zone. now, the divers haven't been able to get down to that because of the conditions. think about it, too, this is a moon soon weather, shallow sea, so the visibility is murky anyway, and the other piece of bad news here is the weather is likely to continue like this up till sunday. it's thursday night here in surabaya, so we've got several more days of this sort of weather, so that is going to be so frustrating. more than 90 vessels are in the search zone, but at the moment they just can't do much at all except ride out this terrible weather. >> you know, andrew, is there any new information from the airline or the government, concerns they may have about the
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debris field, if that is what that shadow might be of it moving, of it drifting, of evidence or even individuals being lost? >> they are not saying that publicly at the moment, but, obviously, that is a concern. the longer this goes on, the more scattered the debris is going to be because of the weather. the currents in the area said to be more circular, so it's unlikely to be moved by currents too far from the existing site, at least that's what we're being told. certainly, the wind and the wave action is not going to help, and they need to identify the debris on the water to then work back the currents or the winds to work it back to the point of impact. so certainly, it is a very frustrating process and also the longer the bodies are in the water, the harder it is going to be identify them, all these issues. so at the moment they are saying we'll do what we can, when we can, and basically the families
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where i am at this crisis center, just have to wait. that's got to be so painful. andrew stevens, thank you so much. and i want to talk more about the weather, the search, and the prospects now with cnn meteorologist chad myers, safety analyst david soucie, and david gallo, director at the woods hull ocean graphic institution. chad, yesterday you said that the winds and the waves have been awful during the day, but okay at night. is that still the pattern that we're seeing? >> yes, unfortunately, that's the pattern over there in monsoon season. when you get the air coming together during the afternoon and in the morning hours, the air wants to rise, then by nightfall the air is not coming together or rising anymore, it's actually falling and you get the skies to be clearing. so good during the day is not going to be possible for months, i don't think, until this whole area goes away.
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great in the evening may lend some help to the guys that can dive still, because at 100 feet, 110 feet, there's not much light down there anyway. 110 feet, even with the sun directly overhead, not that much sunshine, especially through that slightly murky water, as well. here's the forecast here for the recovery. it is the box right here, this little area. that's where most of the debris has been found. the plane slightly to the left of that box, because the waves and the wind has been going in that direction the entire time. you talked about that. there's very little current in this area here either. once something sinks to the bottom, we're not moving it around in the current. only the stuff on top. especially the things that are sticking out of the water. let's say a part of a wing or winglet sticking out of the water, that wind will grab that and act like a sail and can blow it downstream, downwind. that's the way the wind has been going the entire time, right into this box, and even here, 35, 45 miles per hour not out of the question at times,
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especially in some of these thunderstorms, and you can just see it, it doesn't go away. think about this, trying to get out of a boat, dive down, waves above you or on a ship looking for white debris from a airplane and white caps everywhere. hard to distinguish one from the other. >> sure, absolutely. looking at the debris field, that area that you're looking at, it's interesting because it's opposite the direction the plane whoufb flying to get to singapore. david soucie, the depth of the water is about eight to ten stories. how do you analyze why searchers are only finding small pieces right now, that they haven't found more? >> well, it's a very good question, but remember with mh17 when we didn't have access to the site, similar here, we don't really have access to the south. back there we relied on analysis of satellite images and steve wood there gave us a lot of information about where to find the bodies and debris. in this case, steve i've spoken with him and he's trying to get the analysis that way, as well, which would help us find the other debris, but again the
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weather is in the way. you can't look through these clouds and when they get glimpse, they are getting some information, but still no debris. >> david gallo, what do we know right now about the ocean floor and how that could make the search more difficult? >> well, it's shallow, relatively shallow compared to the deep water searches where the depths have been mild. we're talking about 100 feet or less in some cases here. one of the things that concerns me looking for debris is there's been a steady stream of commercial traffic, ships coming from singapore on the way towards australia. i looked at the traffic in that area, marine traffic, and there were about 30 ships transitting in that area going nine, ten miles an hour. to me this is like a crime scene and we have the steady stream of commercial traffic blasting through it, and i'm wondering what do they see. it's amazing we've seen so little debris, even with the weather the way it is. >> arguably, those ships, all those ships, are extra eyes in
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that region, which would ultimately prove helpful. you don't think they are interfe interfering, though, in that plane. david, what do you think? >> they certainly could be. as he said, it's an accident scene and every accident scene i've worked is you secure the site and make sure nobody disrupts it, much like the crime scene investigations you see on tv and stuff like that. ships can disrupt and make evidence that you have sink to the bottom as it goes over it, but, you know, i don't know that these ships, they are cargo ships, large containers, they are not looking for things, you know, there's not enough crew on there. they are busy already. they are not going to be looking like searchers were. i don't know enough about this to know if they could diverted, but certainly if they could, that's what they'd be doing. >> let's talk about the aerodynamic stall we're hearing about. the pilot radioed saying he needed to change altitudes, air traffic control said he could make a left but not climb higher to 36,000 feet.
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first of all, what kind of a difference would that have made to potentially get the plane out of harm's way and was the pilot perhaps forced to do that anyway? >> well, either he was forced to do it or it happened on its own, which would be from an updraft, serious updraft could have resulted in the same thing, if the aircraft is flying and hits into an updraft system, it's going to lift the aircraft and it could easily have lifted it, not easily, but could have lifted it 4,000 or 5,000 feet, that's one explanation. the other is simply he felt like he was in imminent danger and had to change, but what's odd about that, in order to change and take command of the air space, which would mean the air traffic control would clear air space for him, but in this case it was not declared and that's very strange to me, because if you're going to get off of that path, you know that you may be putting other aircraft and other lives in danger, so the first thing you say, i need some space, give it to me so i can
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make a safe change. >> appears there wasn't even time for that communication after effectively disappeared, making what we believe may have been that left. >> or there was no communication mechanism. >> means something was wrong with the plane. david susie, david gallo, chad myers, thanks so much. stick around we'll be coming back to you in the next half hour. understanding what happened to the flight may be in the aircraft's black boxes, but first investigators have to find them. next we're going to look at clues that may lead to those answers. curling up in bed
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experienced investigators admit they never get back all the pieces of planes that crash into the sea, but what they mean they've got to have are the black boxes. stephanie elam met some experts that piece together these tragic mysteries by looking at lots of small clues. >> reporter: to find out what brought down a plane -- >> got to bite this a small bite at a time. >> reporter: investigators look to the wreckage and not just the black boxes for clues. >> i will never have all the parts, never, but the more parts i get, it's like a mosaimosaic.
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the more, the better the picture will be, the better the picture, the better i come up with an understanding of what happened. >> reporter: but when a plane crashes into the water like airasia flight. >> the water you're working with currents and winds and so the pieces won't be where the initial impact is. we have other accidents that happen in shallow water, got most of the pieces back, but deep water we have a very, very hard time doing that. >> reporter: take, for example, malaysia air flight 370, believed by many to be somewhere at the bottom of the indian ocean. by examining other crashes, investigators can deduce what likely happened if the massive plane did crash into the water. >> in this case, the primary energy of this wreckage was absorbed by the right front cockpit. it has two jet engines just like
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the malaysian aircraft, but it, in fact, it's 10,000 pounds versus the 777, which was 600,000 pounds, 60 times larger. >> reporter: if it broke up, that debris field at the bottom of the sea floor would be massive. >> you're absolutely right. >> this is a wing that crashed into the water. >> what's important to us here is tracing the front leading edge of this right wing. looks like it struck some object, but, in fact, this wing hit the water, the water being a very, very hard surface when you hit it fast. >> so if you're talking about a 777 hitting the water, it would be immensely more noticeable. >> that 777 would be moving much higher speed than this aircraft here. so, therefore, the energy would be greater. >> reporter: yet even with all the pieces investigators are able to put back together, if they don't recover the part of the plane that failed in flight, the cause of the crash may
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remain a mystery. stephanie elam, cnn, los angeles. >> and i want to get back to david soucie and david gallo here. the immense task investigators have, even when they can put their hands on the wreckage, but what can people in your line of work do when you don't have that hard evidence? how do you analyze what you know, david soucie? >> there's the difference between hypothesis, theory, and evidence. so evidence drives the others, however, in this case when you don't have evidence, you have to start with theories that you know, proven theories about physics, proven theories in history of other accidents, you put those together, from there you drive hypotheses and test those hypotheses. if this happened, then that happened. the difficult thing for us at this point and for the investigators on site right now, as you mentioned, there's no real evidence, but interestingly enough when you do have evidence, the lack of evidence
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tells you something, too. >> right, of course. how it broke up or how the plane didn't break up. >> there's no debris, for example, that's a fact. it's not something disputed or part of a theory or hypothesis or test, it's the fact. no debris in that area and where they did find debris it was a specific kind of evidence. so you put those together and that either supports or falsifies one of your hypotheses, which then supports or negates your theory. >> david gallo, based on your experience, what do you understand of the wreckage, where it may be, where it's been found so far, the shadow that people are talking about, what can you piece together from all of that? >> what i piece together is we're just getting incomplete, sometimes contradictory information, so we'll have to wait and see to get something official, but i will say one thing, deborah, in the past we used to commit the ship or plane and souls to eternity to the
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deep and now with new technology we can go to any depth and produce a full forensic map and bring the wreck site back to the investigators or allow them to investigate through satellites and robotics, so we've come an awful long way so we can do deep sea forensics in place right now. >> which is really remarkable. when you do deep sea forensics, a lot of people might say when the plane is found, bring up the passengers and then bring up the particles. why is it important, in your opinion, to map out what you're seeing on the floor? >> air france 447 we collected over 100,000 still images and made a bird's eye view and provided that to the investigators so they could pick and choose and direct operations about. that's hugely important. i do believe there are clues. quite often things are damaged on the way back to the surface, so like any accident scene, it's
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great to be able to produce for the investigators a virtual view of that wreck site, bring that to them in their own laboratory. >> sure, absolutely, and, obviously, once the entire analysis is done, that kind of information could prove crucial into how the plane went down and the altitude, the pitch. david soucie, so far they've found two black bags, a gray suitcase seemingly intact, stairs, as well as other pieces of scrap metal. why do you think these pieces and what does it tell you in terms of suitcases being intact, passengers that have so far been found, nine altogether, also being intact, what does that tell you? >> well, at this point the information that we have is that you have something. what the clues come from is not just that you have it, but where it was that you got it, where you picked it up from, and the condition of what it is that you picked up. for example, a piece of metal. a piece of metal torn off an
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airplane can mean a couple of things. if indeed under microscope you look at that metal and a skrak had propagated earlier, you can tell that happened and whether it was quick, slow moving tear or abrupt, sudden tear. that you can see under a microscope to give you clues as to whether the aircraft landed as a ditching and then broke apart or whether it landed all at once or went into the nose. all of that can be determined by a few small pieces of metal. >> and what about the location, if those suitcases, for example, were too large to fit in the overhead, does that mean that investigators are any closer to perhaps finding the tail section, or the underneath part of the plane where those bags are kept? >> yeah. doesn't necessarily mean that, because there's so many other explanations for what it could be. we talked earlier about evidence supporting or negating the hypothesis. that evidence neither supports nor negates the hypothesis the
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aircraft broke into pieces in an abrupt matter or ditching manner, so that doesn't conclude anything yet, however, what it would do is give them clues as to where the aircraft might be because of the size of the bag and how it's drifted. we talked about the evidence that they did find being 100 miles from the place it was located last. that doesn't mean that's where it hit. it could have hit six miles as they originally reported and drifted for 94 miles afterwards. there's too many questions still. >> that's where david gallo comes in, because you're able to look at the currents, the path of the plane that it took possibly under water, providing also crucial information. david soucie, david gallo, stand by with us for a moment, because the big question, what happens once they actually find the missing airliner, will it give families any sort of consolation? we'll examine what it takes to raise a plane from the bottom of the sea next.
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and as more bodies and debris are foundç floating off the coast of indonesia, seems
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more and more likely crews will find the plane at the bottom of the java sea. about ten to 15 stories deep. hopefully, that will make the search and salvage operation a little bit easier. cnn's joe johns reports how the plane could be recovered from the sea floor. >> reporter: how do you pull a plane up from the bottom of the ocean? >> what you want to do first is to really map the entire accident scene. >> reporter: we spoke with peter goelz, a former investigator with ntsb who worked on the recovery and rebuilding of twa flight 800 that crashed after takeoff from new york city. >> you document everything until you really get the information off the data recorder and the voice recorder. >> reporter: he says the site needs to be treated like a crime scene and mapping the debris field before removing objects can be key to finding out what happened. then comes the process of pulling up the giant pieces of debris from the bottom of the sea. >> you would have a number of
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lifting cranes and you would have teams of divers, and the divers, of course, even working at 100-foot depth, you'll have to have decompression chambers. >> reporter: a potentially slow process because divers can only remain at depth for short periods due to health concerns. but does indonesia have the know how to carry off a recovery effort like this? there are still questions about the location of the debris. david gallo. >> usually you're extremely careful not to say that you found something until you ground truth in it. >> reporter: woods hole participated in the crash of air france 447 off brazil's northeastern coast, whose black boxes took almost two years to recover, footnoting what a painstaking process this can be. >> and joe johns joins me now live from washington. joe, is there any sense how long once the plane is found that it
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could take to actually bring it to the surface? >> really hard to say. this is sort of a unique situation. it could be a few days, but it all depends on how long it takes them to locate not just the debris, but also the black boxes. i think that's an educated guess, is anybody's guess right now. >> is there any sense of who would be in charge of that? right now indonesia has the lead, they've got the most ships that are out, they are searching. is there any sense who would be in charge and how much this might potentially cost? >> well, hard to say. i know, and you know, we've worked so long and hard on mh370, this is a plane that has never been discovered, so how much will it cost? certainly depends on how long it takes, and indonesia will probably remain the lead on this, however, other individual countries, for example the
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united states, have been offering the type of assistance that might help them get this stuff, including one thing i think we all have been talking about is aircraft that can actually drop into the water to locate where the dee bree is. how much does that cost, depends how long they have to fly. >> absolutely. joe johns, thank you so much. a lot of families wanting a lot of answers. appreciate that. and ahead, the grim task of identifying the passengers of flight 8501, how much more time under water could make that task even more difficult. ♪ nineteen years ago, we thought, "wow, how is there no way to tell the good from the bad?" so we gave people the power of the review. and now angie's list is revolutionizing local service again. you can easily buy and schedule services from top-rated providers.
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and the next big break in the airasia search may depend on the a break in the weather. weather over the search zone in the java sea today was once again terrible. helicopters were unable to fly, divers could not get into the
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water, they couldn't leave their ships. to date the remains of nine people of the 162 passengers and crew from airasia flight 8501 have, in fact, been recovered. eight have been taken ashore. authorities today made their first positive identification, a woman who was pulled from the sea tuesday. a remote indonesian hospital is proving invaluable as bodies are rushed there by recovery teams. our paula hancocks is there. >> reporter: sirens in the night announce their arrival. victims of flight 8501 on dry land and rushed into this hospital. the next morning, two more bodies arrive. red cross and hospital workers take them to a private wing to be prepared for the next stop, identification by distraught families. the hospital director says he's here 24 hours a day to give the
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decease the respect they deserve. because they've been in the water some days, he tells me, the bodies are swollen, but otherwise they are intact. patients look on somberly, their own ailments forgotten in the face of such tragedy. coffins are being delivered to give dignity to those who lost their lives so suddenly. this hospital has never had to deal with a tragedy on this scale before. they have about two dozen caskets at the moment, they are being built as we speak. the hospital director says they will have 162, one for every victim of this crash. a final prayer for each soul, leaders of six different religions take their turn. the victim's religion may not be known, but customs must still be observed. their time on earth is over, says this pastor, so many of our prayers are for the family. we ask god to receive their
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bodies and give the families strength. one step closer to their final resting place. so few victims have been found and treated, so many more still wait to be pulled from their watery graves. paula hancocks, cnn, indonesia. and the process of identifying the victims of this or any plane crash can be fairly straight forward, or it can take time, skill, and experience. also a bit of luck. few know the process better than my next guest, a forensic scientist at the jon jay college of criminal justice in new york. how big an enemy is time when it comes to ensuring that all passengers and crew are identified, especially since they are in the water? >> well, the time plays a major role here, because, obviously, after a person dies, there is a
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process of decomposition that goes on. bodies that are totally immersed in water generally decompose at a slower rate than if they were exposed completely to air. however, the waters here are relatively warm, which would promote decomposition. it sounds to me like the bodies are now in a bloat stage, and basically gases are being produced. there are multiple processes that break down the body chemically into smaller components. in any case, it does become more difficult to identify a body over time. i think part of this problem is to get the bodies as soon as possible, clearly, to perform the identifications, and, of course, we also have to know what killed these people.
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i mean, we're assuming it was a blunt impact upon the plane hitting the water at the relatively high speed, but we won't know that until the bodies are examined, and that will tell us, was there a fire, was there an explosion, although not likely, we need to look at the cause of death first, and the identification will then proceed. either visually or through medical dental records, through fingerprints, and ultimately dna, and i understand that the families of the victims have already been asked to provide dna to the analysts. >> yeah, and it's just so painful, you know, from the perspective of returning identified remains to family members, clearly, it would be preferable if victims were still strapped into their seats, because the process of recovering and then returning perhaps even intact would be significantly greater. >> well, that's a good point
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that we don't even know if all the bodies are in one location or not. if the plane did, in fact, open up and bodies have been just propelled outward, they could be in various locations, making the search and recovery more complicated. >> and just such a tragedy for these families, many of whom were simply traveling to celebrate the new year. larry, thank you, we appreciate your insights. >> sure, pleasure. next, a rare close-up look at the pilot's family and how they are coping with the tragedy. also a touching tribute from his daughter. man (sternly): seriously?
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the man behind the controls of that airasia flight was no rookie. he was an experienced f-16 fighter jet pilot with more than 20,000 hours of overall flying time. investigators will not know exactly what he was dealing with in the cockpit in the final moments until they find the all-crucial black boxes. the people closest to the captain, his family, aren't consumed with the investigation today. they are still coping with the tremendous shock of losing him. cnn's gary tuchman visited the family. >> reporter: this is what it looks like today in the home of the captain of airasia flight 8501. this is captain's 24-year-old daughter angela and wife.
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his 7-year-old son, this is his father. this is his mother, and a house full of family and friends. a house so full that more people are outside in front of the home, as well as out in the street. this is the traditional visit made when there is a death in the family, but angela still talks in the present tense about a father she adores. >> translator: he is kind, wise, and humorous. he's easy going, he is intelligent, he never raises his voice. he's never angry. i'm very proud of him. >> reporter: family and friends occasionally glance at the tv that stays on with nonstop coverage of the airasia crash. pictures of him are all over the home, a wedding photo, a picture when he was an air force pilot. he went from the air force to one of indonesia's airlines for 14 years and moved on to airasia six years ago. one of his friends paying his
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respects is a pilot for another airline. what kind of pilot was your friend? >> translator: he is a very responsible pilot. we used to be in the air force together. very loyal, he's very kind. in his work environment, he's very kind to his copilot, his cabin crew, his ground crew, and all the people who fly with him. >> model planes of jets he flew are part of the decorations of the house. his wife says the outpouring of support at their home is invaluable right now. >> translator: i'm happy so many people are here. it gives support to me and my family. >> reporter: like so many families of airasia victims, there was significant hope of survival among members of this family when the wreckage was still missing, but his daughter doesn't want to abandon all hope. at least until her father's body is found. >> translator: of course, i still expect that he's alive, but at the same time i have to accept the reality. >> reporter: and that's why many
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of these same family and friends will be back here tomorrow and for days after, offering their support and their love. gary tuchman, cnn, indonesia. and what's ahead for the victims families in the wake of this aviation disaster. next, a preview of legal action they may take against the airline. our panel will weigh in on this tragedy.
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well, the families of the passengers and crew on flight 8501 are coping with immense loss, unimaginable loss, eventually some of them may sue for compensation. let's bring our legal experts in to discuss the potential liability in this aviation disaster. paul callen and joey jackson. paul, from a liability perspective compared to malaysia air flight 370, how much does it help that these families at least some parts of the plane have, in fact, been found? >> i think it will help them immensely because this gets complicated in terms of what they can recover, montreal convention where they could recover at least a minimum of around $170,000, or the warsaw convention, which is a much lower number, could be around $8,500. indonesia signed only the lesser one, the warsaw, so they are looking for the big pocket, which would be suing the
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american-owned airline and the parts of the plane might indicate that there was a product defect that would get them into the american court system where they could sue for millions, so that's a good thing for them if they can find something wrong with the plane. of course, maybe they don't find anything wrong with the plane. >> joey? >> could be problematic, and here's the point, where you sue, deb, has a lot to do with how much you recover, perhaps it shouldn't be that way, but that's the reality. u.s. courts are friendly towards this, in the event you can't establish a united states connection, you know, then you have a problem. if you look at it, it's hard to establish a united states connection unless you can show carriers u.s., principle places of business in the u.s., whether tickets were issued in the united states, so jurisdiction is going to be a big issue. >> what's interesting is that from a u.s. perspective, there is a sense of sue, get money, be made whole.
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is it the same culture in indonesia and the surrounding countries where they will want to take on that kind of legal battle, or do you think they are going to trust that the airline and tony fernandez will actually do the right thing to compensate, to make them whole, paul? >> there's a very different approach to this in different nations. how do you value loss of a human life? in american courts we look at pain and suffering, lost earnings, how many dependents were there, and you can get up into $10, $15, $20 million sometimes depending on who died. now in other countries, particularly third world countries, the values are less because the income level is less, and even though human life is worth the same, i think every place, it gets valued by salary and other things like that, and so you get very different numbers and different places. >> there's another -- sorry. >> please, go ahead. >> there's another issue, that is a business decision issue, and what i mean by that, whenever there's a disaster like this, and god bless these
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families and their losses, do you really want matters litigated and want to extend this? there's right and there's wrong, and the public relations disaster that comes about from litigating a case and particularly an airline disaster could be very problematic, so oftentimes business decisions are made to settle the case, and those decisions are predicated upon insures and get back to some of the issues paul mentioned in terms of how old were the passengers, earning potential, dependents they have, and evaluate that, they'll pay out the families, they'll grieve and move on. >> takes a long time. in the plane crash we covered so intensively back in march, those families, some of them have received some compensation. >> others have not. >> most have not. even now. >> it's very interesting, you know, i was reading the new york times today had a very interesting article about the safety record of indonesian airlines. airasia has a very good safety record, however, i was really surprised at some of the countries that don't have an
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agreement to sort of faa safety standards, including barbados, cur saw, st. maarten, should safety requirements be required, especially in indonesia, where their airline industry is growing by leaps and bounds, should they be required to tell passengers or make them aware of issue issues that might exist? >> they should, but we have to remember, i looked at the article you looked at, it's troubling, problematic, you look at the safety record, of course, a burgeoning economy and based on that there's more flying, but notwithstanding the fact that the flying record is poor, this is still very rare. i think they said 1 in a million passengers versus 1 in 25 million in the united states and other jurs diisdictionjurisdict likelihood of this happening -- >> of course, the other thing, international travelers are used
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to confronting third world conditions. >> i've been to that region, jumped on a lot of airlines, i'm surprised i'm sitting here today. >> harrowing trip on a bus, as a matter of fact, she forced them to stop the bus and get off, so would they have an alternative even if they knew there was a bad safety record, in most third world countries they would not. why haven't they signed the montreal convention, which would guarantee a minimum of $174,000? >> premiums are much more expensive also for indonesian airlines according to that article. thinking about all of this, do you think it's important for the -- do lawsuits provide the kind of information that improve ultimately airline safety? is that one of the benefits? >> that's the issue, because lawsuits are not only about the monetary recovery, it's about what can we do to make things better, to make things different, to improve safety regulations, and, obviously, as
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a result of the fallout that lawsuits bring, of course, there are improvements there, but there's a process in lawsuits called discovery, the exchange of information that attorneys have to provide, and oftentimes in providing that you find things that are sub standard, so one of the things you can hope for is in any litigation there will be improvements moving forward and money invested in safety and in passengers. >> again, we do want to reiterate airasia has had a good safety record, but some of the other airlines in indonesia less so. gentlemen, happy and healthy new year, thanks so much for coming on today. >> thank you. and the missing airasia jet is the same type of aircraft that pulled off the miracle on the hudson six years ago, still one of the world's most popular passenger jets. a close-up look at the airbus 8320 next.
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and here are the hour's top stories on cnn. 46 people dead, 47 injured in a stampede on new year's eve in shanghai, roughly 25 minutes before midnight. it only lasted 30 seconds. it is still unclear what caused the crush. chinese authorities are investigating. and tents really aren't meant to fly, but during rose bowl preparations yesterday, the wind picked up so badly, those tents went airborne.
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the fire department says four people were treated for minor injuries. and two new york city streets are being renamed to honor the two police officers who were murdered in their patrol car on december 20th. mayor bill de blasio made the announcement yesterday saying the detectives are our fallen heros and they will never be forgotten. and actor edward herman died wednesday at the age of 7 is in new york. the cause of death is a brain tumor, according to his manager. he was a talented actor, best known as his performances as fdr and the father in "gilmore girls." a career that lasted over four decades and his most recent role being in the series "the good wife." and crews have recovered more debris, along with nine bodies from airasia flight 8501. they have not found the plane, the missing jet is an airbus 8320 and with over 6,000 produced, that model aircraft is
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one of the world's most popular planes. cnn's miguel marquez looks at the airbus 8320 from nose to tale. >> reporter: worldwide, more than 3,600 airbus 8320s are flown by more than 400 airlines, charter companies, and private entities. eight american carriers combined have more than 450 a-320s in their fleet, among the biggest, jetblue, united, delta and us airways, 69 each. in the short to medium range world, the a320 is second only to boeing's 737, which has delivered nearly 8,000 of its ultra popular planes. the a320 family of planes includes the a-318, 319, and 321, all similar in range and control. airbus says every 2.5 seconds a plane from one of its 320 family is taking off or landing somewhere in the world. the a320 was delivered to airbus
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in october 2008. since then, the airline says it has taken off some 13,600 times, logging approximately 23,000 hours in the air. airbus 8501 was carrying more than 18,000 pounds of fuel when it departed, enough for about three and a half hours of flight. shortly before disappearing the pilot asked if he could ascend to 38,000 feet. that request was denied. the a320 is certified to fly up to 39,000 feet. its absolute limit is 42,000 feet, weight, temperature, weather, and fuel all play a role in how high the plane can fly safely. in its history, 16 a320 planes have crashed, nine of those crashes were deadly, resulting in 656 deaths on the planes or on the ground. the first crash shortly after the plane started service in
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1988. air france flight 296 skimmed the top of trees, the cause, the fly by wire system and pilot error. in 2007, tam airlines flight 3054 crashed in sao paulo, brazil. a reverse structure deactivated the plane, unable to stop, crashed into a cargo terminal. 187 passengers and crew died, plus 12 on the ground. the deadliest crash for an a320, cause likely pilot error or mechanical failure. and who could forget the 2009 ditching of u.s. airways flight 1549? on takeoff from new york's laguardia airport, the plane collided with a flock of geese, both engines failed. successfully landed the plane on the hudson river, all 155 aboard survived. miguel marquez, cnn, new york. thanks so much, everyone, for spending part of your day here with us, i'm deborah feyerick wishing you a happy
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2015. brianna keilar picks up our special coverage of the crash special coverage of the crash airasia flight 8501 right now. -- captions by vitac -- 1:00 p.m. here in washington, 6:00 p.m. in london, 8:00 p.m. in zjerusalem and 1:0 a.m. in surabaya, indonesia. up first, a gray suitcase, scraps of metal, two black bags, those are among the latest items recovered from airasia flight 8501. the first victim of the crash to be identified has been laid to rest. here are the latest headlines, searchers have now recovered the bodies of nine people. the body of a woman was identified and returned to her family for burial. rough seas and waves as high as ten to 13 feet are


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